BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A state representative is hoping new proposed legislation will take more steps to help the struggling Indian River Lagoon.
- State Rep. Randy Fine introducing measure to help Indian River Lagoon
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State Rep. Randy Fine of Brevard County says the timing is right with Gov. Ron DeSantis' commitment to water quality in the state.
With a big portion of the Indian River Lagoon in his district, Fine laid out his plan to pump $50 million of state money into cleaning up the waterway, which spans five East Florida counties.
The goal is for cities in the area to match that money, creating a $100 million fund.
"People are looking for one magic bullet," Fine said. "There isn't one. The problem with the Indian River Lagoon is a multi-billion dollar problem. It's not going to get fixed in a day, it's not going to get fixed in a year."
The plan includes upgrading existing sewage treatment plants, extending sewer lines to neighborhoods that are on septic systems, and 50-50 matching state grants for homes that can be connected to an available sewer line.
Dr. Peter Barile is the science director with the American Water Security Project out of St. Petersburg. Their goal is to reduce wastewater flowing into Florida's coastal waters.
But Barile knows the issues going on with the polluted Indian River Lagoon. He grew up here in Palm Bay on Castaway Point, right on the banks.
"This is not the same place where I came and played 40 years ago," Dr. Barile told Spectrum News. "We know that wastewater is the primary driver of the harmful algae blooms in the lagoon. This water shouldn't be brown, it should be blue."
This legislation would be on top of the half cent lagoon sales tax referendum passed by voters in 2016.